Thursday, December 27, 2012

part II: christmas letter

I couldn't get it all down on paper afterall. Not in one swoop.

I made Christmas hats for the girls. I slaved away and learned by trial and error how to sew with fake fur. And in traditional judybluesky style, I didn't start easy: I used fake llama fur, long and twisty. Its funny, not really, when you go to these sewing stores to buy this shit and ask the twelve year old at the counter at Fabric Depot, " is there anything special I need to know about cutting this stuff out?" "Naw," she says, perky in her red christmas vest that I'm sure she made out of felt scraps collected for free from the cutting room floor. "Just cut it out and  sew it up. You can grade one of the seams to make it lay flat." I decided to make my task even more difficult and line them with velvet, so went out to the Milwaukee store (Mill End) where the clerks are older even than me, for some washable velvet. (I only have silk-velvet. Poor me.) I asked the same question of her  "Oh, yes! Have you never worked with this fabric?? Well, then you need to cut it out like this and sew it like that and blah blah blah..." I learned so much in two minutes. It made the job somewhat more manageable, although I learned much the hard way - -my way.

I made my own pattern: a pointy hooded hat with attached scarf. My girls, tiny little things, look like abominable snow-pixies with them on. This year was the first year they felt like my kids. It is our 9th year together, and finally we are almost comfortable as a family.

Medifast update: I've lost 58 pounds. I gained back three during the holidays with some permitted leniency. On the trip south, Nicole and I decided on a Christmas menu that would fulfill the carbohydrate void I've been experiencing since July third: a Mexican CarbFiesta menu, with green chicken enchiladas, tamales from Canby Asparagus Farms and refried beans, with hot carrots, greenbeans for color, eggnog and all that. The morning before, I OD'd on Christmas cookies: cutout and frosted thinly with powdered sugar glaze and a hint of lemon zest in both cookie and glaze. yummmmmmmmmmmmm. But the way I ate them: in secret and as though it was a contest, made me realize that my eating habits, while in limbo, remain untreated, and when the medifast food ends, which it should eventually, I will surely regain the hard-lost poundage.

So I signed up to learn Tai Chi, a taoist class that meets once a week for 4 months. My goal is to learn the form and practice it at home when I'm done. It has always interested me, and with my various painful joints, it seems the better choice between tai chi and yoga. Yoga intimidates me. Well, not yoga, but the tiny women who carry their little mats down Clinton street and disappear into the studio that is all draped with velvet with Bahktishop scrolled in white across the windows.Turns out bahkti-style yoga is about love, and the group is about loving Bahkti and the place is about love first and not really about exercise for health,which is fine, which is what I say when it is not fine with me. The Tai Chi class is more health-based with the religious association secondary. I may need an influx of religion, but that's another post for another day.So happy new year plans include movement.

Two posts in two days. Wow. Just like olden times.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the traditional christmas letter

I have many things to discuss and I don't know if I'll get to it all. None of it matters, Still, I'd like to get it down on paper. Paper. Have you seen the new Paperwhite Kindle? We already have paper books. Now, behold: an electronic device with a screen that looks like paper, is as easy to read as paper, no glare, just like a book. Oh wait. We already have that.

Anyway, I haven't updated my fan base for months and apologize to you both. It's been an interesting time. Let's see.... Since Halloween I've been actively pursing my habit of pumpkin seeds. I've purchased or found eight pumpkins, seeded them, and consumed all of the seeds. My lips look like I've had botox and my sodioum level is through the roof. I've also purchased many packages of pumpkin seeds only to re-bake them myself with olive oil and sea salt. I can't get a thing done at work or at home. My car is full of seeds, the housekeeper at work is mad at me for having to vaccuum six times a day. At home, well, let's just say it is an effective hand to mouth distraction.

To tree or not to tree? Being Martha Stewart is hard sometimes. I usually wind up spending at least sixty bucks on a beautiful Grand or Noble Fir, perfectly shaped, to go in our perfect bay window. Sometimes I just pull out the Charlie Brown replica and leave it at that.
This year, husband says, "There's a lot out in Hillsboro and every tree is 15$."
"I'll hate them," I assure him. "I'd rather have no tree than an ugly one."
"Let's just see," he says.
So off we go on a holiday mission, to replace our Christmas lights with LEDs and to find the perfect cheap tree. I'm sure it can't be done. The first lot we visit has a small spray painted sign, ALL TREES $15. I roll my eyes and get out of the truck. Before me stands a lot full of perfect 8-foot Nobles. "Really?" I ask. They don't speak any English. They just smile and nod. Kurt loads up the tree and gives him 17 bucks. I am put in my place. I'll never live it down.  

 Mid-December we made the obligatory pilgrimage to the Southlands. We didn't know what was in store from hubby's side of the family since he had effectively started WWIII with his clan in July by being the first in twenty-some-odd years to tell his most recent in a long and notorious line of step-mothers to shut the fuck up.I have to admit, I'm on his side in this one. So, with the step-monster-in-law in check, we had a decent visit, but didn't stay over like usual. The beautiful little cabin we used to stay in has deteriorated into rat piss and decay, so we stayed with Rita, my mother-outlaw, my son's grandmother. Things are never awkward with her. I envy her social skills. She is the best person I know. Really.

So there we were, basking in the glow of the Blessed Season, playing UpWords instead of Scrabble, which completely taxed my never-agile left brain, when my husband shouted from the basement: "JUDY!!!!!" When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,.... I ran to the stairs to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below. "Duffy's got skunked!" my sweetie howled into the once-pleasant early dark of winter. "He's through the fence." Crap. True to form, my little West Highland White Terror saw the skunk waddling across the backyard and bolted after it like the ratter he was born to be. Apparently, the skunk's escape was stalled by the hogwire fencing and it turned in self defense, spraying Duffy full in the face--in the mouth and in the right eye and all down his right side. By the time I arrived, Duffy was across the fence, choking and gagging, rubbing his face in the dirt and pine needles, trying to get away from himself. Nicole, bless her, jumped the fence to rescue him. Not considering the ramifications of handling a freshly skunked dog, she handed him to me across the fence and I received him and hugged him and cuddled him, and too late, smelled him. Aarrgghh.

Jane, my sister-outlaw, for lack of tomato juice, brought around a bottle of spray and wash and a water-tight garden cart, and out there in the cold and dark, I bathed my poor little dog. He looked at me with his little coal black westie eyes, wondering at this fresh torture, never once considering the consequences of his actions, I'm certain. Once the first layer of oil was scrubbed, we moved inside and bathed him again with peroxide and dish soap. He stunk all the way home where he has been twice-bathed with tomato juice and he still stinks.. Even Rita, bless her, will probably not welcome Duffy back for a repeat holiday visit.

So, back home, I received a letter in the mail that it is time for Duffy's annual exam. Now, it won't surprise you that I barely attend to my own health concerns, let alone that of my dog's. But give the recent skunk contact, I thought it prudent to check things out, rabies and all. As we stood in the exam room, Duffy high up on a steel table, quivering-- me keeping him from jumping -- the vet came in. A nice young woman, serious about dog-health. As she got close, she inspected his teeth and I said, "Sorry about the smell. He got skunked last week." She was immediately embarrassed that she hadn't identified the smell. A country vet would have known right away. Either that or she'd assume Duffy had a bag of good weed stashed nearby. Anyway, she asked about the skunking and I told her about the bathing and that he had some bumps from soaps and stuff -- his skin is sensitive. She found one larger bump and I told her I'd just pulled a tick off him while we were in the office.

Good God. You'd think I'd told her he was on fire.
"Where is this tick?"
"In the garbage. It was just a regular old tick."
"How big was it?Was it engorged? When do you think it embedded?"
The questions were urgent. She was very excited. I wondered if she'd ever even really seen a tick. Me, I've pulled about a million of them off animals and a few from humans. This one was small and I got him out easily, smashed him and put him in the trash, like you do. But the city-vet was pretty agitated about the whole thing.
"Even 'regular old ticks' carry lyme's disease and rocky mountain spotted fever." She mocked.
I didn't like that very much."Right," I said. "I'll keep an eye on him."
After a litany of related symptoms to watch for, she launched into a dissertation on the need for proper dental care. A sales pitch, really. "He'd have to be sedated, of course," she claimed, handing me an estimate for $1009.00.
"This won't be happening," I admitted. I'm sure. A grand to take my dog to the dentist? Really?

Okay. So that's the Duffy update. What a fun dog he is.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

long weekend

Almost. I spent Friday driving a patient to a psychiatric hospital, but other than that, work free. The paucity of mental health services for the elderly is stunning. Back in the day, when I worked a different job that was pretty much the same only without the death factor, we used to marvel at what we could do if we lived in the metro area, where all things medical are possible. Wrong. So, by the time there was a bed open, I wasn't about to pass it up because of transportation problems. They wouldn't admit her if she couldn't walk in under her own steam, and she's nuts, so, if she was on her way through the doors with a stranger, and the door says: TUALITY CENTER FOR GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY, she's no dummy. She'd have turned and bolted. I opened the door before she got to it, shielded the words, did a quick Halley's Comet diversionary tactic, and we were in.

Wait. She was in. Let's be clear about that. She. Not WE.

So she's in and I can rest for a minute.

Thanksgiving was fine. Real food, consumed in about twenty minutes.Mother in law hostessed with her ailing sister, who fell in her bathtub. "It has nothing to do with my age." she said before I even said anything. I swear, its that old Angel of Death thing. They see me coming a mile away. "She's coming for me." I can see this thought bubbling slowly to the brimming sludge that is what's left of their little grey minds. "She knows." It would be awful, I'll concede this much.

So its back on Medifast one day later, and I don't really care about food so much anymore. The dinner was okay, and anti-climactic, and I'm just aware of the focus I've placed on food for far too long. I remember Alan McLean, one of my very first nursing home patients, who, after a career in the CIA, had his mind scrubbed and was left with little else but a love of black pepper and a fixation for  Casablanca and  Joan Collins, who he had allegedly had a one-nighter with in his heyday. He was known to say, "I eat to live, not live to eat." Well, good for you, Alan. Good for you. Me too.

A movie review: we went to see Lincoln, and I loved the politics, the tragic silliness that remains today, the gamesmanship. I think James Spader should get best supporting actor for his role as an early lobbyist. Hysterical. But DDLewis, wow. Loved his voice, the frail, gentle Lincoln rang unexpectedly true.

Our new Dyson is sucking the carpet off the floor, quietly, as I type.

Friday, November 23, 2012

black friday

That sounds so negative. Kurt is at Costco now, purchasing a new vacuum cleaner for our happy home. A condition of marriage was that I never receive household appliances for gifts, so this is a non-gift -- a necessity - a Dyson power sucking pet hair eliminating monster. Sid's hair is a cross between a porcupine quill and  a corkscrew. Once embedded, it is there to stay. He rode in my car once. Once. And his hair is still there despite magic pet gloves and car wash power vacuums. His hair, not Duffy's. Not my darling Duffy's.

I ate regular food yesterday. I've lost 55 lbs so far, and am not fat anymore. I've always been fat. Always. I feel fragile and light and strange and cold. It is difficult to keep up with psychologically and I know why I've always managed to put the weight back on. Such a warm coat in the winter months. Such a reliable layer between me and everyone else who is not me. I am exposed and I understand vulnerability like never before. I am without armor.

My wax is on upstairs and I am producing items for sale. Do your christmas ordering now. I'm taking special orders. I'm usually kidding. Not now.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

wax on

Another Saturday on Clinton Street. Duffy sits at my shoulder keeping an eye out for squirrels and wayward neighborhood cats who perch just beyond his reach, chirping and mewling, taunting, taunting.

This blog has become a maudlin account of death and doom. I need to find another topic. Another job.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

one more

Charles never seemed old, but he turned 91 last week. He referred to himself as Charles Lorenzo Eduardo -- although he was that rural Oregonian shade of white that could never believe we have a black president. He died just now, they tell me. He paced the hallowed halls, looking for his car, a can of paint, the army, all the misplaced parts of his life he just couldn't hang onto -- or let go of. What will I look for? Cling to? We are what we do. I am a sofa. I am a keyboard. I am wax and housework and a frying pan over a hot stove. I am the sidewalk in front of my house that takes me to coffee. It is pouring down rain, finally, in Portland. I'm heading upstairs to turn on my wax. Therapy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

out loud

Pansy is dying. I've lost 52 pounds to date. People look at me funny, like they want to say something but are afraid, at my advanced age, that I'm dying too, or that something has gone seriously wrong. I'm not. It hasn't. I feel really good -- just ask my knees. We, the body parts, are happy with each other and the brain right now. It feels something like the opposite of cognitive dissonance. It might be contentment. I wouldn't know. The war, while not over by a long shot, is momentarily at rest. The brain is finding fault, however, with the legs: too thin, the ass -- gone. the gut, still not perfect, although the belly button that was inserted by dear Dr. Young, my plastic surgeon of days gone by, is nice again and my tits are still here.

I've claimed to have lost 50 pounds in the past, but I don't think it was true. I'd meant to be telling the truth, but I think it was wishful speaking. Find something that weights fifty pounds. Right now. Now try to lift it. Go. I'll wait here...... Freaking heavy, right? I've lost that much weight. No wonder I was so tired all the time. For now, I see myself quite differently. But, pessimist that I am, it all feels pretty mercurial. Dreamlike. Temporary. I'm fifty-fucking-nine years old and I have at long last lost the post-baby fat from my 35 year old son. It is frightening to say out loud, but there, I've said it. Its in the blog so must be true.

I don't know what to wear. I've been a long time fan of Flax clothing, plain linen tent-like garments, expensive and expansive, elastic "waists" held up by invisible suspenders over layers of extra me. Now that there is less extra me, I'm not sure what my style is. I may like simple things. Still prefer black. Still want to be invisible. Thankfully, I lived and shopped in denial most of my adult life, so already had bin upon bin of small clothing that kind of fits what is left of me. But even those clothes are a bit baggy. I hope I'm not complaining. I have boxes and boxes of leftover clothes. I got rid of what I hope not to wear again, but I didn't get rid of all of it. There's too much and this isn't my first rodeo.

So if you read this and need some 1-2x clothes, I'm your gal. Think black and white and menopause beige.

Well, that's it for now. I had to write this post eventually. I was kind of holding my breath. I should take a bunch of pictures now before it goes away.

Friday, October 05, 2012

what's in a name

Hellen has one foot in the homeland. "Two L's." Hellen was a big round beloved woman, a preacher's wife who loved a good deal. Her daughters, each equally well-heeled, came in the evenings, their most recent bargain in hand: a pair of Nine West shoes for three dollars, a silk scarf embellished with roses, just fifty cents at a yard sale. They whirled into their mother's little room waving the treasure and announcing the price. Hellen would smile with crinkled eyes, nodding from the bottomless well of her heart with a sweet, "Hey girlie, where you been?"

Now she's not so round as she once was and her crinkled eyes are closed. There are no sweet words carried to her children on her eternally hopeful breath. She will be gone before daybreak.

There are too many to take her place. A crooked line forms just outside my door, and they bang with gnarled fists to come inside, in full-retreat from the darkness that envelops them and steals their thoughts, pushes them down and breaks their bones.

Recently, though, as Hellen and Edna and Elsie and Myrtle have passed, they are quickly replaced by Janice and Eileen and Barbara and Susan. I greet them with uneasy familiarity, these younger women with names like mine.

I marched in the Alzheimer's walk. The Walk to End Alzheimer's. It won't end, though. You know that, right? But we march and we raise money and we pretend there is hope. But there isn't. Not like that. What hope there is lives in the workers I train, and others like me, who teach the young ones to carry the sick on their backs to the end of their lives.What works is not Aricept or Exelon Patches. It is kindness and understanding, clean hands,strong backs and open hearts.

I raised some money for the Alzheimer's Association and my name was put into a drawing. I won first prize. I won a 50 inch plasma TV. Kurt says we can put it in the neighbor's house across the street and watch it from here. I've never really won anything before. Its too big for me.

Addendum: this morning Harriett is gone. I planted hundreds of spring bulbs today in her honor. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The house is quiet, my husband playing his guitar on the front porch. Both dogs lay panting from a run in the park, and with their breathlessness offer a rhythm for my typing. I could meditate to it if I could meditate.

I wonder what my life will be like in five years when I am sixty four. The Beatles made it seem so far away, but I am just around the corner from being an old woman. I can feel it in my knees, my step, my intolerance of celebrity. In the way I view the pale sky; a sky I know I will never see again -- not in just this same way. Where I live now, I have to walk three blocks to get a good look at the evening sky. I used to stand on my deck with the whole of the sky sprawled before me, unaware that there would ever come a time that I would want for a view.

One night the Aurora Borealis dipped down into my backyard, swags of scarlet and purple light. I remember my neighbors pouring out into the street like marbles from a bag, some of them calling it the end of the world. “And the sixth seal was broken and read, ‘The moon became as blood.’ It is the end of days.” Voices either keening or drunk, it was hard to tell. I remembered my mother just then, how she would have quoted the same scriptures, how she would have feared for our souls. For some of our souls. For mine. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

more camping stories

 So we're finally home, back with the running water and electricity.

Wait. I had all that in the trailer. Here it is, My sweet little Aladdin, nestled in the shadow of the Wallowa Mountains, on Wallowa Lake. Staged perfectly by my showoff husband for maximum effect. We'd made reservations at this crappy RV place in Enterprise, Log House RV Park, certain there'd be no room at the campground so close to Labor Day Weekend. But there was. We hurried back to Enterprise where I begged for a refund and got it. I'm a pretty good beggar. At Wallowa Lake there is a tram that takes you 3500 feet straight up the mountain. The view was spectacular. I kept pointing this out to my husband as he clung to the pole in the middle of our tiny, metal gondola, knuckles white as a trout's belly, until he opened his eyes briefly and said, "You enjoy the fucking view. I'm hanging on to this pole," as though his grip would somehow protect us as we plummeted 3500 feet to our death. Once at the top of the mountain we had to walk to see the view. I was pissed. "I didn't come to exercise," I said. "I just wanted to watch." But he made me walk to the edge of the world. Actually the edge of the EagleCap Wilderness. Home of the Imnaha Wolf Pack -- more about that later -- and drank perfect clean water from a spring gurgling out of an iron cistern in the middle of nowhere. Well, clearly it was somewhere, but it was remote.

Speaking of remote. My xfamilyinlaw has had a piece of property way way up in the Wallowas since the sixties. It is a forty acre plot of mountaintop, an elk pack-camp, where my son's grandfather led pack teams to hunt elk each fall until his death. I don't think I understood my inlaws until, in 1987, I drove to the property to pick up my son after a long summer visit with his grandparents. I knew they were country people, pioneering types. I got that. But they told me: drive to Joseph, take a left and keep going. I remember I borrowed Vivian's little Escort station wagon, and when I turned off the Imnhaha Highway onto 4inch-minus rock and bounced straight uphill for nine miles, I began to understand their comittment to a certain pace of life. I finally arrived at camp with a punctured gas tank and stood among a forest of sugar pines and a hand-made lodge with four hunting cabins that are still there today.

So we drove up there to see Julie. She is so tough. She is living up there, "fixing the place up" in her words: re-chinking the cabins, cleaning out thirty years of rat shit and neglect since her father's passing. She is turning it into more than it was. People will still come to hunt game, but she is making a place for wounded warriors to heal.

"You like to help people," she said. "You can help me." I think I don't so much like to help people as it is my default means of support. She likes it, really. She has that kind spirit in her.

So we had a good visit. Her closest neighbor, a trail runner, was out for a morning run, and noticed the Imnaha wolf pack running alongside her, she on a trail, the wolves a few trees in. She bought a gun. Julie says, "I just carry my iPod in a bucket and turn it up really loud."  A bear left claw marks on her screen door. Okay.

So, we left Julie and went west. Way west. And found these guys and ate them all up. The end.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I'm a whiner. Sue me. I un-posted my complaint. Then reposted it.

A social worker asked me, "If you worked in obstetrics, would you get sick of babies being born?" I just said yes. First, to be difficult, second, to appear right.

But it isn't the same thing. I didn't want to point that out to her because she was busy helping me. But I'm sick and tired of helping and helpers.

camping world

I like to think of myself as a country girl. I am. I am a girl from a country-ish place. Talent. Jacksonville. Ruch. The Outer Banks of Medford, Oregon. I've lived in log cabins, carried my own water, split wood for heat and for money. I know what a rick of wood is, and what it used to cost. But I like camping in parks. I like the running water and hot showers, the noise of other families trying to make music around the campfire at least once a year, kids learning how to play again: hopscotch, jumprope, the you're-it, if-you-don't-quit-it-I'm-not-playing-with-you-anymore, kind of games. I miss my son as a young boy, catching crawdads in the creek while I kicked heroin in the tent. ah. memory lane.

We have been on the road for a week, and I just wanted to take a moment to discuss campgrounds. Not the ones with the white trash ambiance, close enough to Leavenworth to service the townies, as though the meth lab just used up its two weeks and pulled up stakes: this was Tumwater Camp, a dry and crusted patch of firestarter nestled along a sweet little stream, dribbling past, unaware of the company it keeps. The Wenatchee River, I'll admit, is a fantastic river and maybe it was just too late in the year, but there was nobody else there hardly except for the people for whom camping is not a happy little vacation option, and that is scary to me. I'm not afraid of bears, I'm afraid of people. Maybe it was just too close to Leavenworth to make camping seem viable. Leavenworth looks like winter at summer's end. Scalloped rooflines, alpine trees and rocky mountainsides naked without their blanket of white. With shopkeepers that just can't let go of the inaccurate notion that everybody loves Christmas stuff. Like those yard sales with special areas for Christmas items such as melting faded pine tree candles, over-used silver garland and ceramic Mr&Mrs Claus with calico clothing. All of the tourists just seemed to be waiting for the snow and Christmas lights so a visit to the Nutcracker Museum would make at least some sense.

I love Wallowa Lake Campground. I love Birch Bay Campground. I love Beverly Beach. This is where the nice people camp. I have become, while I was not looking, a nice person. I have matching towels for camping. I know I should hate these places of rules and regulations and sale firewood and paved pathways, but they comfort me. The idea of roughing it no longer appeals to me. There. I've said it. That is not to say that all people who rough camp are not nice. I am just nicer.

Sid hates camping. He has no hair, bugs bother him, he isn't at home where he feels safe and knows what to expect. He'd rather stay in the trailer than roam around like an animal, calling into question whether or not he is really a dog. His skin breaks out, he shakes and stares at us, and the very mention of the word "home" is the only thing that makes him wag his tail.

I'm exaggerating.

Then there's Duffy. In the unbridled out of doors, he becomes even more dog-like and obnoxious, if that's possible. He waits at the window of the trailer and growls, stalking chipmunks. He plans his escape. He never forgets. As soon as he has an opportunity, he bolts, scrambling up a tree he has no hope of climbing. If he had any idea how impossible his hopes and dreams really are, he'd commit suicide. On a long hit list, Duffy's top two disgusting events while camping, are: 1.) Pissing down Kurt's leg and filling his shoe with dog urine, which is not all that rare for Duffy. (See previous posts.) He seems to equate the human leg with a fire hydrant or tree. It is upright, afterall. Besides, Kurt was standing on his leash to keep him from running off first thing in the morning. I know, I rationalize. And 2.) Drumroll.......... Rolling in human shit. Now, as profoundly disgusting as this is and was, do I blame Duffy? Or do I blame the bottom-feeder who crapped in the campsite? Well, Duffy was closest, so he got a pretty cold bath, me gagging through the whole thing.

We did bring him home with us though. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pansy Tulip Rose

Its been a long couple of weeks or years or something. I'm losing track of time, of people, of meaning. This is the litany of the dead.

In East Germany, Tulip's father carved a merry-go-round horse of ice and pulled it with the cow for his children to ride, but the Russians showed up and her family had to flee over the frozen river with all they could carry in a wagon. She was so hungry she ate mud. She finally made it to the states, but even with Alzheimer's, she couldn't forget the Russian soldiers and secured her door with gnarled fingers -- twisting and untwisting the lock day and night.

"I'm tired," Pansy said. "I don't want to live any more," in her sheer, Parkinsonian whisper. "You're a good girl," she said to me as we talked about her dying, her wish to be relieved from what her body, her life, had become. That I did not intervene, did not push food, water, medicine or hope, was my gift to her. It is the best I can do in the yawning gap between life and not life.

I went to Tulip's funeral and cried all the way to Damascus and Boring and back. For all of them. For all of them to come.

I'm tired.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


Today we went to the Molalla River. I know that may sound like a normal day, but living in the city, it is no longer a part of my day to day life to head up the Applegate and hang out. I hardly knew what to do, what to pack. Around here, there are parks, no dogs allowed. There are scenic theme parks like Multnomah Falls, and the sheer numbers of people, the queuing strategies: stand in this line, follow this rope, stay on this side, it is hardly relaxing. The Molalla isn't like that. Nobody really cares what you do, and from the general absence of litter and unpleasant behavior on the hottest weekend in years, it seems to be a pretty much self-regulating place. Kurt couldn't exactly remember where the place was, but between him and gps, we found our way. Nicole came along. Out of practice, we didn't bring chairs, but had the dog's sleeping bag that we keep in the back of the truck. We are so accustomed to the "no dogs" mentality, we left the boys home. They would have had a great time, and will when we go again.

The water was warmish, not bathwater, but it took no getting used to, and there was enough current to make me swim. I wore a bathing suit for the first time in years. It felt so good to be in real water with rocks between my toes and sun on my face. I lived in and on rivers my whole life. I am a river girl. I don't like lakes, don't trust the sludge on the bottom not to conceal glass. A flowing river is a self-cleansing organism. The swimming hole was deep, with smooth rocks on the far side to lay out on another day.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Benny died. He told us he was going to. On Thursday morning he woke up and said, "I don't want any more medicine. I'm ready to die. I just want to do God's will. Do you think its God's will?" I told him I thought he had a pretty good line on God, that he and God would work it out. As for the medicine, that was okay. "Just for the pain." So he laid down to die.

By Monday, he opened his eyes and said, "Is this heaven?" I had the almost overwhelming urge to say, "No, this is Iowa," but didn't. Instead, I told him it wasn't quite, but that he had one foot over the threshold. I sat beside his bed and read the 139th Psalm from his tattered bible. "...if I take the wings of the morning and  dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there...."

Ben knew poverty like the back of his hand. He told stories of the Dust Bowl and couldn't forget it, couldn't forget the starving grasshoppers blackening the light as they gathered at the windows like pestilence, eating the curtains, the wooden sash. He couldn't forget the war and didn't tell those stories. Them that say do not know, them that know do not say. He loved soup and hash browns and his wife, who just passed last month. After she died, there was a family reunion to live for -- in Iowa, actually, which would have made it all the more confusing and unfair had I taken the self-indulgent opportunity to quote Field of Dreams in his time of transcendence. So he made it to the reunion, bought a cowboy hat in Iowa, came home and died in the arms of his beloved family.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

the bee whisperer

So there we were, napping on the deck....

Let me back up.

The morning began, as mornings will, damned early. 4:00 am. My husband is the only person on earth who sets the alarm for 3:30 and wakes up ten minutes early. So off went went to Seaside for sunrise clamming. Its not like you can sneak up on them. The 1.6 minus tide determined our schedule. I didn't get a full limit for various reasons: my foot, my shoulder, sneaky clams. I think we got 20 between us. It was work, the clams small, not worth keeping. But the rule is that you have to keep them if you catch them. If you dig for a clam and it is tiny, you're not supposed to put it back, but I have my own ethic about this. It is not in line with the great State of Oregon's Fish and Game Regulations, but it works for me and I haven't yet been caught. This is my rule: If I harm the clam in any way, that is, if I feel even a tiny little crunch, I keep it. If I don't, I just slide the little baby right back in the hole he came from, cover him up and act like I lost the clam I was digging for. It's called "high grading" and you can get a big fine, but I think its bad to take all the baby clams. So there's my rationale.

Occasionally I would look up from my hunting and realize how beautiful the beach is at sunrise. 

We were home by ten-thirty, threw the clams in the sink and both of us headed to our favorite spots for a deserved nap. At about two p.m., Kurt calls me from my slumber and says, "You have to see this!!!"

I rubbed my eyes resentfully, wandered out to the back yard and looked where he pointed: up. A giant swarm of honey bees was collecting on a laurel branch about 20 feet above our deck. The forming cluster looked to be about 8" in diameter and 18" long, solid bees, with many many many bees still coming, swarming around it.

Neither of us are particularly afraid of bees, but we have heard of colony collapse and urban beekeeping as a local hobby, so we wanted to get the bees somewhere safe. Internet to the rescue. We located Ruhl Beekeeping after making one call to a guy listed under "swarm removal" who said 20 feet was higher than he wanted to go. So we called Elliott somebody, or somebody Elliott, on Ruhl's list, and he came right over on the 4th of July. A woman named Kit came with him. She has a hive over on Belmont and her queen just failed, or died, and she needed a new swarm. Elliott had a homemade bee vacuum cleaner that sucked the swarm and its queen right out of the tree and into a hive box. Apparently, where the queen goes, so go the bees. Elliott said it was a viable swarm.

This is what else we learned:
Bee 101 by Elliott
Honey bees are not native to north America. Indians call them "white man's flies."
Eventually, in a hive, another queen will be made or born and she takes half the bees and leaves, thus creating another colony. This is likely what had just happened.

So, we saved the bees on the 4th of July and gave Elliott and Kit each a jar of the new strawberry jam I made last weekend with berries from Silverton. If you want some, call me. I can't eat it right now. Or ever. But I'm not thinking of it that way.

Day two of Medifast: The food is Soylent Green. Just in case you're keeping up.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


I got spurs that jingle jangle jingle.

In addition to the multitude of diagnoses on my own personal list, I now have bone spurs trying to fight their way out of my left foot. There's a movie called My Left Foot. Maybe I'll make a sequel. It would show me sitting in one place, then trying to put on the forty pound boot with five velcro straps that is supposed to help me, only it doesn't feel like help, it feels like hinderance, which may not be a word at all. Then the movie would show me taking the boot off, saying fuck it, and limping around.

Literally everything that is wrong with me can be traced back to obesity.

So my plan is to try a diet I haven't tried yet: medifast. I want to go on record here and say that all diets work. Most all. I'm a great dieter. I'm just no good at re-entry. Medifast may not be any different, but the beauty of it is that they send you the food and you eat it. Even I can follow that plan. The only way it could be a better diet is if they sent someone over to do the dishes. I even get a personal trainer. Coach. They recommend no deliberate exercise for the first three weeks. I'll try to hold back.

 It may sound like I have a mildly negative attitude about this which could not be further from the truth. I'm completely resigned to doing a year on this diet like time at San Quentin, then attempting to follow their re-entry program, which is also laid out pretty clearly. I diet well once my mind is made up, and this time, my mind, my intestines, my joints, my esophagus, my heart and my left foot are made up. All for one, one for all.

I spent the day primering the inside of my trailer. Kurt was out of town, taking his dad to see his aunt in Susanville who has lung cancer, so it seemed a perfect time to start the project. My hands are now covered with Kilz and I'm about halfway finished. I'll try to get it done tomorrow. There are many little nooks and crannies in that trailer and I am going to paint them all. Twice. Death by Kilz.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

beyond mid-life

Nora Ephron died this week and I wanted to note her passing here. She spoke about aging from a woman's point of view. Her book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," is one I have yet to read but could have written. She said that aging is something that we talk aout -- we, the educated, the non-vain, the worldly-wise -- but do not understand. Not really. We nod in intellectual acceptance as though aging would happen to everyone eventually, but not to us. Not to me. And I think that's what I've been experiencing. A certain mid-life denial. Not crisis. Heaven forbid I sink to that level of self-involvement. But truth be told, I'd been graciously accepting my fifties until the fifteenth of this month when I turned 59 and it occurred to me like new information that I am not only going to turn sixty, but that I am, as we speak, two weeks into my sixtieth year.

Its not that I didn't see it coming, but I didn't see it coming. I am old already. Waitresses call me "dear" and I hate them for it. I want a tattoo. I want blonde hair. Not white goddammit. Not  grey. BLONDE. I AM A FUCKING BLONDE. I want to wear my leather jacket and look like I'm forty again. I want it back -- my youth, I've changed my mind. I want a refund.Our adorable next door neighbor Abilene, a twenty-something hair stylist saw our new trailer and said, "You guys have everything." Kurt said, "Yeah, everything but youth and health." Too true.

We went for a Sunday drive (you know, like old people do) down to Sweet Home to find a vintage camp trailer rally (a campout) to see what the trailers were like and what kind of people do that stuff. When we left, after seeing some amazing trailers, "Kind of an old crowd," I said. My husband said, "They're our age."  I'm trying to understand this but it isn't easy. You can see one of the trailers at Flyte Camp the 1946 Westwood Coronado. This one was at the vintage rally, restored to mint condition. Amazing. I'm spending the weekend painting the inside of ours. Nothing too fancy, and I found an Aladdin's lamp at 3 Monkeys in NW Portland. Perfect for the Sultan's Castle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

once a beauty queen

"She was Miss Oklahoma 1952" her daughter told me. I went to visit her, determined that she'd be a good fit for the unit, and made the deal. After about four hours she warmed up to me and crooked her finger, calling me closer. She pulled a photograph out of her jacket pocket, an 8x10 black and white, folded and refolded until the print is quartered with cracks. She won't take off her jacket or her hat, keeps her arms folded across her chest. Says she's cold all the time. What she really is is ready. Ready to hit the road at the first opportunity and head for home. Only home isn't there anymore. All that's left is a bunch of junk in a small room, blankets and sweaters and teabags and one cup, nothing of value. Except this photograph. She calls me closer and I approach her cautiously. She has not allowed me this close to her yet. "Is this it?" I ask. She nods and unfolds the paper. I am looking at Marilyn Monroe, or may as well be. She is stunning, in a white Janzen bathing suit, a satin Oklahoma ribbon stretched across her once-perfect body. "Now I'm old," she said. "I see that face," I told her. "I can see you." And this is her treasure. She carries it with her, proof of perfection, and holds it out like a diamond in her palm after you've passed her test.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

happy birthday to me

1967 Aladdin

The appliances are robin's egg blue. Ready to camp now, but I will make just the teensiest, ever so subtle, changes in decor. Now, I can yard sale all my camping crap, keep it all in one place and have a basement again. But where oh where to park it???

Sunday, June 03, 2012

clam anatomy

I haven't cleaned clams for a year. A strange species. Each time I have to find my way anew, scissoring into the slimy innards as if for the first time, remembering what we keep, what we throw away. There is no part of the clam that looks like it should be eaten. And I insisit on doing this part if I am expected to eat them later, dredged in egg and milk and flour by turns, then into the oil for a minute or less, until they shrink. That's how I tell they're done.

Its been a bit since my last post. We sent my brother out to sea and since he wanted no part of a funeral, memorial, celebration of life, or wake, his wife honored his wish and called it an open house. So we drove to Port Orford -- Port Awful to those who know it -- ate good food, enjoyed his paintings, and his peers celebrated his life whether he liked it or not. His children and two of his three wives were present. Seeing his son was like seeing him, young and healthy, handsome and whole. His daughter, my sweet sweet neice, was there with her family. And my sister came. She and I are the last of my immediate clan.

I was sitting on the porch, the rare coastal sun glancing through thick white clouds to warm us, as some guy sitting next to me began to ramble about Doug. "Oh, yeah, he was a fighter, a boxer, liked throwing his fists around. Oh yeah, he did hard time. Prison. Yeah, he was tough." I turned to him, wanted to see who was telling lies of my brother's misspent youth, as if the truth wasn't story enough. The man, caught up in his nonsense, looked at me mid-sentence and asked who I was. "Doug's sister," I said, not elaborating, not calling bullshit as I might have. I just smiled and he stopped talking. I heard him muttering something like, "Well, he did like to fight."

I'm not sure whether he liked to fight or not. I don't think he did. I think he had to fight on occasion like most men do -- or that most men who drink too much do -- but he wasn't a boxer. He did play baseball. He was in the first Little League World Series and might have gone pro were it not for his love of booze and distaste for authority. He did go to prison, but like most men who have, he didn't talk much about it. To my memory, he entered prison with slicked back hair, wearing a sharkshin suit, with a pool cue in one hand and an ace up his sleeve; he came out a Buddhist fisherman who read biographies, wove baskets, painted pictures of the sea, and followed liberal politics. He still, to the best of my knowlege, did not acknowlege police authority and considered a boat at sea a safe distance from trouble. His paintings changed the way I look at water.

My husband, always looking to entertain himself brought along the crab gear, so we ate well, four dungeoness males slathered in butter and garlic, and good sourdough bread baked that morning by my sister-in-law, according to the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, also soaked in butter.

I love butter.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

click your heels together and repeat

Happy mother's day. We're not moving. The past week was an ordeal neither of us were prepared for. First of all, I had to clean my house. Not my best thing. I had to keep it clean every day, so strangers could wander through and judge my every decorating choice.Pretty soon, it seemed like I was cleaning their house.

We were effectively homeless, albeit with vehicles and money. We couldn't let the relators just show up during the day when the dogs were home but we weren't. So we had to show the house in the evening: come home from work, grab the dogs and leave, eat something somewhere, wait somewhere, and come home. All the while taking calls at work from other agents who wanted to show the property. I know we hear about a slow housing market, but this was not my experience. My phone rang off the hook, people went in and out, all evening long. Every evening.

So finally, the pretty house we made an offer on was no longer available and we looked at lesser models. It was like trying the most expensive bed first: you'll never buy the cheaper one. Will we move one day? Yes. Just not today. We need to squeeze a little more out of this place first, and be able to get further out of town.

So that's the story. But here's what I learned: I like old houses. Ranch houses are made of cardboard. Planting a Japanese maple by the door makes it a well landscaped home. Slapping a granite countertop over existing cabinets is a major upgrade. 20 year carpet wears out in 2. The beauty of paint is in the eye of the painter. And last of all: There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

Monday, May 07, 2012

We're goin' to the country, baby do you wanna go?

Or something like that.

We are in the process of putting our house on the market (close-in SE, bungalow, highly desirable neighborhood, wanna buy it and help us pay our realtor?) and moving toward Forest Grove, which I'd heard was crackland, but is actually a quiet little university town with a great coffee shop called Maggie's Buns. Now, I've had one of the classic cinnamon rolls and Kurt had a maple bacon roll, and as far as I'm concerned, Maggie has some damned nice buns. We found a bungalow in the historic district and I've had Bungalow Bill stuck in my head since.

So my city-life comes to an end. Or that's the plan. Tomorrow, our house goes live, according to the agent, and streams of people will throw money at us to take over where we left off. Today, Stanley Steamer will try to make it seem like it isn't actually a house that belongs to two stinky dogs.

And it will sell, or not. Either option is fine with me. But being basically lazy, I'd hang out here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

then there were two

My brother Doug died tonight. The storyteller, the basket weaver, the fisherman, the drunkard, the painter. That leaves one living relative in my immediate family. My sister. The women. It wasn't a contest. It isn't like we set out to live longer than our older brothers, but we did. Well, I guess it remains to be seen if we actually live longer. We are, after all, younger than them. To some it may not sound so serious, but I started out with a big family and we're down to two of us. My sister said it well: "He did pretty good for a Kinney," meaning, he lived a long life for a male in my family. His younger brothers preceded him by many years, as did our parents. His wife, Joyce, the first three letters of her name an apt description, survives, and two children, Pieper and James.

Ah well, death is no stranger to me. I am grateful to lay next to my husband tonight.

Doug. There are legends about him in Port Orford, and Brookings, and in the Applegate Valley. Now all my brothers are in heaven because I wish it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dante said, "the hottest circle of hell is reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."

two grapefruit

There isn't much left when you peel a pink grapefruit and take the time to get all the white stuff off, so I eat two and dip each segment of perfectly peeled pink flesh in sugar. A delicacy, and something to do while watching Antiques Roadshow. My father peeled them that way. Its funny the stories that come down with time, what sticks, what doesn't.

I finished my book. The title is Life on Dry Land. I hope someone will publish it. Now, I have to write another one. I've already started six, and the pieces I've already written, the quilt scraps, I will stitch together at some point with words so clever and seams so invisible it will seem like it was always just one story.

Enough with the sewing metaphors. I just basted the sleeve of Molly's "neverending sweater" a once-beautiful but never completed, Irish cableknit fisherman's sweater. Mol sits in her chair -- not the one no longer occupied by Bill, her husband who just passed a few months ago -- she wouldn't sit in his chair. Anyway, she sits and knits and knits and now, she has asked me to put a dart in the sleeve. A dart, for the uninitiated, is a wedge of fabric "taken in" to make the garment more fitted. Typically, you see a dart in the shaping of a bodice, but this dart is in the sleeve. Seems Mol went on a few too many rows and one sleeve is wider than the other and it is easier to make the dart than to find a person with one very fat arm.

Such is my work.

I've ordered a Writer's Market, so I can begin the search for a publisher. People still do that. Vanity publishing is a possibility, but I'm not that anxious or motivated. Now, according to people who do this shit, I will be responsible for marketing and getting the word out about my book. So you read it here first. Buy my freakin' book. Thank you.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

rain rain go away

Springtime in the northwest. But I would not trade a thousand rainy days for the drought of Southern Oregon, the interminable ninety-degree wasteland of July through October, dry grass fire danger water your garden twice a day heat stroke land of my half-life. Nope. I'll take the second half wet and green.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

p t

Physical therapy is a crock of shit.

That being said, it may be helping. Ilsa/Ingrid/Ursula, the svedish sadist that tortures me twice a week, a large and accented vooman, seems to know her business. She sends me home with two or twenty new exercises every time, which she says, "You'll want to do three or four times a day." She's wrong about that. I don't ever want to do them again. I don't ever want to see her again.

My surgeon said that in six weeks, I'd wish I hadn't had the surgery. True enough. That's supposed to pass too.

Sunday, March 04, 2012


This week my husband had a really good, but impossible, idea. We have dogs. Two dogs who eat and poop and entertain us. Each year we spend hundreds of dollars to restore the landscape they destroyed over the previous year. Each year we select another large section of our limited outdoor space to donate to shitland. Each year my husband accuses me of trying to keep them off the grass, favoring the outdoor ambiance over the animals well-being.


But this year, he has had a change of heart. Either that, or I've finally worn him down. It's possible.

Our backyard is comprised of three sections: deck, stone inlay, and grass, in that order. Roughly 10x10 sections of each. So, to give you an accurate picture, it is a 10x30ft. space. I have, for years now, wished the deck was in the center of the yard. Today, my husband said, "I can just move it." To which I replied, "Can not." To which he replied, "Can too," and so on. There are few things in life more certain that my husband's actions once challenged. The deck was moved by noon.

Now, the dogs will have the area to the left of the backyard as their own private toilette, complete with cedar chips to help with the aroma. They will have less space than ever before, it will all be fenced with wood, and I will have a new outdoor decorating project.

My husband said, "Why does everything have to look nice when you're involved?" I answered, "It doesn't matter why. It only matters that you understand that it is true."

Bless him. He no longer argues that there is only one shade of white.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

requiem for willi

Willi Hart died last week. He preceded me on the path, showed what lay ahead, even in death. He gave it all he had. It wasn't enough.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I just guided my best friend Loretta to an Arco station, then pointed her across the Ross Island Bridge and southward toward her home. My old home. The past three weeks, despite surgery, has been filled with moments of joy because of my girlfriends. They carried my purse, did the driving, put up with my whining, made me lunch, brought me treats, and otherwise spoiled me. Judith and Joan, who brought me a meeting, Kristi, who brought us dinner from Local Boys, Kristy gave me a sheet of tin for my studio and Kurt hammered it into place, JoAnne took me on a drive to the waterfalls, Athena brought chocolate, Vali took me to an encauastic show and dinner, and now Lorretta, have each contributed to my healing in ways much more important than the physical -- although the treats were much appreciated. There's just nothing like being with people who know you. I am blessed. Lorretta stayed two nights and I was able to show her around my neighborhood. I think she loved it. I'll make a city girl of her yet.

Today I am in so much pain. It seems to be getting worse instead of better. I suspect I am doing too much. Driving is very difficult. Painful. Sleep is impossible. I am taking less medication and hurting worse. This happens. It is the trajectory of recovery. Familiar. It goes like this: I think I am better, cut back the narcotics, and find out why I was taking them. Its a process. Of acceptance, of awareness, of honesty. This week I begin physical therapy. OH, did I say physical therapy? I meant torture.

Sunday is Cooky's 70th birthday party. I'm working on an encaustic piece for her. She likes blue moons. I'll see what I can do.

Friday, February 03, 2012

yreka gold heist

Siskiyou gold display circa 1947

Happy Ground Hog's Day!! My husband is broken-hearted this morning. Somebody got to it before he did. The nugget in the middle of the photo, the pure 28 oz shoehorn nugget from Scott Bar, should have been his. He had planned something a bit more elaborate: a Mission Impossible swat team kind of operation, hovering helicopter, ropes and guns and such to avoid alarms and discovery. But wait! No alarms went off at all.

On Ground Hog's Eve, two guys hid in the bathroom with a sledgehammer and did a routine shopping mall smash and grab, and walked out the front door in the morning. The alarm on the case didn't even go off. And they walked away with 3 million dollars in pure gold. There are some crimes that deserve to be done. That gold has been sitting there for years, unguarded, in little more than a country store candy counter display case. What were they thinking?

Initially, I hoped they'd get away with it -- and the criminal part of me that lives on despite years of therapy, persistent as moss, really hopes they do -- but they'd likely melt down the nuggets to buy meth and I really really really hate the idea of losing the collection to that monster. I understand the indignant County officials who thought the collection was safe, because absent the meth epidemic and backyard stills, Yreka is a relatively safe place.

Etna, Scott Valley, Humbug, Callahan (where my son's father died) -- these are places that hold memory for me: the lovely drive down the hill into the long stretch of meadow that is Scott Valley, the impossibly steep grade coming out. I used to take my son down there to spend time with his dad but not in the winter, I'd never get him out. I remember the times when his dad would get pulled over, toss the car keys before getting carted off to jail, leaving my eleven year old son to find the keys and drive the Jeep home over unpaved roads grown men would avoid and spend three days eating canned food waiting for me to pick him up because there was no phone.

Ah, Marky. He's survived alot. This beats the previous record held by me for exciting things that happened on Ground Hog's Day.

  This is a photograph of the feathers of gold left when the quartz is removed by an acid process. This gold is in Carson City, another of my husband's imaginary conquests.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I have been sitting here, laying here, eating here, healing here, for a week. Day eight, my husband's day off, he asks if I'd like to go for a ride up to the waterfalls. The road from Troutdale to Multmomah Falls, is, to date, my favorite place on earth. I don't care the season, the weather, the time of day, I am nourished by the dense green ferns, layers of moss and lichen, light filtering through cedar trees to illuminate -- wait -- we're on the wrong road. Did he say "by the waterfalls?" What he should have said was, "I'm driving up to Cascade Locks to see if anybody's fishing. On the way we can pass Multmomah Falls going eighty mph and not even slow down. Wanna go?"

Am I complaining? I am, to no avail. I did want to get out of the house and this was out. But a trip down the freeway is not luxurious in the same way a winding adventure through fairyland would be. The healing powers just ain't there. Ah, well. I married a fisherman.

So, we get to Cascade Locks, home of the absurdly large, small soft-serv cone. Why do they leave the 'e' off of Serv? Is it clever? Does it contribute to the demise of the English language? I digress.

So, we roll down into the Marine Park (read: the fishing hole) to find two locals hanging out, one fishing, both drinking. Ralph is an Indian, Roy isn't. Duffy wanders over for the meet 'n greet. Next thing I know. Ralph is yelling. Apparently Duffy peed on his rubber boots. Which he was wearing. This was a great little conversation starter, as if the sturgeon pole and brownpaperbag wine sacks weren't.

"Good thing I wasn't goin' to a weddin' eh?" Ralph says.
"Duffy, you're not being very neighborly," I said. "I'm so sorry."
Roy laughs long and loud. We all laugh, start asking them about the wisdom of taking a drive out Hwy. 35 around Mt. Hood, road conditions, dead of winter, all that.
"Long as you do it before shade falls," Roy says.
My husband talks to them about fishing, the weather two weeks ago last time he was out there to fish.
"No electric that day," Ralph says, "all the way to White Salmon it was out. Them gas stations can't even pump us no damn gas. You know the only place you can stay warm?"
I shake my head.
"In the damn car. Good thing I had boat gas left. I had to stick it in the damn Jeep. Stuck there all day with the old lady. But we made it. We always do. That's how you know."
About the woman. You know about a woman if she can sit all day in the car, in the cold, staying warm on recycled boat gas. And wine. Don't forget the wine. High octane.
Duffy wanders overs to piss on Roy's boots this time. I swear he's never done this before.
"Shit," I yell, although not for encouragement or by way of suggestion.
"He who laughs first, laughs last," Ralph says.
Wise old Indian, that Ralph.

So we wander back to our truck, offering weak apologies. Ralph thanks us for making his day. Kurt tells them he'll be back tomorrow to actually fish.

Personally, I would not have told them this. I would come back, but hoped they'd forgotton the whole deal. Because honestly, this situation could have gone very differently. One more bottle of wine, one more forty-ouncer, and the story might have ended with Pictures at Eleven. What seems so silly at noon turns suddenly serious as daylight wanes, as the nice blonde lady with the fluffy little white dog who lets him piss on the locals ought to buy him a new pair of boots. How much? I'd ask, as my husband, who would certainly intervene, says, "we ain't buying this asshole new boots. They're rubber. He can stick them in the river and rinse them off if its such a big deal. Then, together, Roy and Ralph would rinse my husband in the mighty Columbia and use Duffy for sturgeon bait. They'd take Sid because he's a pitbull and guys like that think pitbulls are cool-they don't know Sid is a wussie dog. Then, Ralph's wife would show up and kick my ass. Her name would be Beverly and she'd be pathologically unhappy. Together, they'd tie me to the statue of Sacajawea (We refer to the statue as "Hot Sacajawea.") and before leaving, she would punch me in the shoulder just for pure meanness.

So we got away without a scratch, got an ice cream cone, and drove the long way home. It was good to get out of the house.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

one handed

What is the sound of one hand typing?

i'll dispense with capitalization. now 20 hours post-op, the fun begins. for the curious, i had my left clavicle resected to reduce impingement of the acromium process. (they shortened my collar bone.) my husband made me comfortable all evening and just now made scrambled eggs for breakfast with blackberry jam on my toast without even asking.

duffy is sitting on my shoulder, pulling on my hair. sid is pacing because, heaven forbid, something has shifted in the zen of our home. he worries. duffy could care less. to him, i just can't get out of the way fast enough in case he notices a squirrel on the wires outside my bay window. i am sitting in his spot. in his way.

owwwwwwwwww. time for medication.